I actually had quite a bit saved up before I got on the journey to FI and thanks to the market run-up over the last few years and the increased supplemental income coming from my side businesses, my “passive” income and theoretical investment income (assuming 4% withdrawal rate) currently covers over 130% of my total expenses. Once we sell our house and lower our expenses even further, an even higher percentage of my expenses will be covered so although I was targeting only the essentials for FI, I’ll likely have everything covered and then some by the time I finally pull the plug on my career.
In hindsight, it's obvious there have been better times to invest than others. But since no one knows what the future holds, you can't know when that will be in the future. Plan to invest no matter what the market is doing. If you're investing periodically, you'll be dollar cost averaging into the market, which will minimize the risk you're taking should the market decline.
It’s important to add up all of this time and factor it into your compensation, so you can get an accurate picture of how much money you are trading for your time. Remember that money in infinite, but time is finite. You can always go out and make some extra money, but you’ll never get back you time. How much are you willing to trade your life for?
The easiest way to do it is by cutting back on your housing, transportation, and food costs. The average American spends 70% of their money on housing, transportation, and food, so if you can spend less on them (say 25% or so, then you can bank the difference). If you move to a smaller apartment, walk to work, and cook at home, you could realistically increase your savings rate to 25%+ or even higher.

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Assuming you are doing pretty well and are happy with your current standard of living, what would you need to maintain your standard of living in retirement? Knowing you are on track to accumulate a nest egg to support that lifestyle is a big win. Gold medals go to those who have accumulated enough assets, or passive income streams, to be in a position to retire well.
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